An SNP MP wants Scotland to experiment with a digital currency in order to get Scots used to the idea that the pound isn't "the be-all and end-all".
Speaking at a fringe event at the SNP conference in Aberdeen, George Kerevan said he would like Scotland to try out a digital Scottish currency, known as ScotPounds, which would be in circulation alongside the pound sterling.
One billion ScotPounds would be created at its launch and 250 of them would be distributed to each person in Scotland. The money would only be able to be spent in Scotland and would be exchanged through mobile phones.
The currency, which was devised by the New Economics Foundation, would essentially see the creation of a Scottish Bitcoin. The group claims Scotland is "perfectly placed to create a new digital currency".
"I am absolutely in favour of experimenting," Kerevan told BuzzFeed News after the fringe event. "If you wish to persuade people there are alternatives to using sterling, one way of doing that, rather than having an intellectual debate, is to show people."
Kerevan said the digital currency is one of a number of options the SNP should consider before another independence referendum, and that it was of vital importance for there to be a ready-made alternative to the pound when the next independence debate happens.
"What we need to do now is have a debate, a discussion, on what the alternative
is," said Kerevan. "Whether that’s a separate currency, sterlingisation, keeping the pound but doing our own thing, it has to begin with a discussion. That debate is
beginning to happen."
Asked whether the ScotPound could ever become SNP policy, Kerevan pointed at the crowded room and said the issue would "bubble up" through the party if the members push for it.
"Look at this group," said Kerevan. "Because we suddenly have 100,000 members we’re getting this kind of interesting debate about what Scotland should be. It will bubble up."
Jamie Ross is a Scotland reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Edinburgh.
Contact Jamie Ross at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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